Heidelberg Favorite Tips by JessH Top 5 Page for this destination
Heidelberg Favorites: 121 reviews and 154 photos
The bicycle was invented in Heidelberg, Germany
Favorite thing: The first evidence of human life in Europe was found in Heidelberg:
In 1907 a jaw-bone was discovered in a gravel pit in Heidelberg – it is the earliest evidence found of human life in Europe. The "Heidelberg Man" (Homo Heidelbergensis) is the name now given to a member of this extinct human species, considered closely related to "Homo erectus".
Heidelberg escaped bombing in the Second World War:
Unlike many German cities, Heidelberg was not destroyed by air raids in World War II and therefore still has original buildings from the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance. It has been suggested that the city escaped substantial bombing because the US Army wanted to use the city as a garrison after the war. In fact though, as Heidelberg was neither an industrial centre nor transport hub, there was nothing of particular strategic interest to the Allies, who focused extensively on nearby industrial cities such as Mannheim and also Frankfurt.
The US Army has had a military base in Heidelberg since 1951.
The bicycle was invented in Heidelberg by Karl Drais, who was a student at the University of Heidelberg. The "Laufmaschine" represented the beginning of mechanised personal transport. It was also nicknamed the Dandy Horse and was the first means of transport to make use of the two-wheeler principle, even though it didn't have pedals.
Fondest memory: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg Printing Machines AG) is a German precision mechanical engineering company with head offices in Heidelberg. It is a manufacturer of highest quality printing presses sold globally. The company has a worldwide market share of more than 47% in this area and is the largest global manufacturer of printing presses.
The Heiliggeistkirche church is only one of many large and small churches, but definitely the one with the most interesting history. During the dark ages, it was the shelter of the "Bibliotheka Palatina", Germany's oldest library. The Bibliotheka was stolen and brought to Rome but eventually returned to the city piece by piece.
It's home to the world's biggest wine barrel!
The Heidelberg "Tun" is the biggest wine barrel in the world and holds 220,000 litres. The vat ("Fass" in German) was built in 1751 and sits within Heidelberg's famous castle.
The German Pharmacy Museum is housed in Heidelberg Castle:
Also housed in the castle grounds is the "Deutsches Apothekenmuseum" which displays a large collection of old equipment and medicines used in a pharmacy in past centuries.
The Old Town Bridge's little residents- Heidelberg
Favorite thing: Undoubtedly one of Germany's most picturesque cities, Heidelberg is one of the most visited places in the country.
Population approx. 145,000. (year 2011)
Approximately 1 in 5 of the population are students – this brings an atmosphere of energy and excitement to Heidelberg.
Heidelberg University is the oldest in Germany:
Established in 1386, Heidelberg's Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet remains one of Germany's most prestigious universities and will celebrate its 625th anniversary in 2011.
It counts an impressive array of national figures amongst its alumni, including the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It is also one of Europe's oldest educational institutions.
Around 20,000 of the Heidelberg residents are non-German nationals, giving Heidelberg its well-known cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Approx. 3.5 million visitors pass through Heidelberg every year. The majority of non-German visitors are from the USA and Japan, although a large number come from the UK, Switzerland & Italy.
Fondest memory: The beauty of Heidelberg intrigued a number of poets, writers and composers. The city of Heidelberg or particular attractions are prominently featured in various poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, and Mark Twain.
Flora & Fauna:
Since Heidelberg is among the warmest regions of Germany, there flourish some usually atypical plants regarding the central-European conditions. Some of them are for instance almonds and fig trees; there is also an olive tree situated in the Gaisbergstraße. Alongside the Philosophers' Walk ("Philosophenweg" in German) one also restarted wine growing again in the year 2000.
Koenigstuhl-Mountain ("The King's Seat"), 568m (1560 ft) high, 450m (1480 ft) above Heidelberg, is a nice option to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. The top of the Koenigstuhl offers a nice view over Heidelberg and the Rhine Valley. In good weather conditions you can see the Northern Black Forest. The same funicular railway that carries visitors to the castle continues to the mountain top.
You will have to change trains once -- the final one to the top is a historical wooden funicular train. (A separate fare is required for the historical funicular.) On the top you can have a look at the more-than-100-year-old engine that just pulled you up. (don't worry: it's made in Germany after all, haha!)
Tourism map of the old town, Heidelberg (Germany)
Favorite thing: Apart from the tourism office at the main train station (see my tip HERE: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/175bcb/ ) there is now (Year 2008) another new centre:
The new Tourist Information in the old town ("Hauptstrasse") is located in the Heidelberg City hall at Markplatz (market square).
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 08:00am - 05:00pm.
Saturdays 10:00am - 05:00pm.
For updates on everything that might affect / improve / influence your stay in Heidelberg, visit this very useful Website:
Many movies & TV series are filmed in Heidelberg
Favorite thing: By now you've probably realised that Heidelberg is one of the most beautiful old cities of Europe. So it is comes as no surprise that many filmmakers have chosen the city's red sand-stone facade & picturesque hills along the Neckar river as a filming location. I totally agree with their view: the city lends itself to being the perfect backdrop for a romantic story in the spring sun, or a shady criminal thriller in the small side streets, a fast-paced corporate drama in the modern commercial buildings, or a fun comedy for children - everything fits.
I remember many occasions on which I was walking through the city and saw filming for a movie or TV series taking place.
Mostly German productions are filmed in Heidelberg, but more and more international film makers are discovering our romantic city... and here is a list of some of the most memorable ones to date:
Fondest memory: > "The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg" (silent movie) was filmed here in 1927.
> The Cary Grant movie "I was a male war bride" was shot in Heidelberg in 1948.
> "The Big Chance", a 1957 movie about Heidelberg's thriving young jazz players.
> Italian / German black & white movie "Last Ring" in 1979.
> "Die Apothekerin" (the pharmacist) with famous German actress Katja Riemann, 1997.
> One of my favourite German scary movies; "Anatomie" with famous German actress Franka Potente, was filmed in Heidelberg in 2000. The movie shows awesome shots of the University's interior, as well as the "Hotel zum Ritter" and less known parts of the newer areas.
> "Kometen" (Comets). Germany's 2005 attempt of a smaller "Armageddon" version.
So, if you are visiting Heidelberg (especially in the spring & summer months) you might suddenly find a road or building fenced-off and bustling with film crews and actors.
Explanation of the map's features (Heidelberg)
Favorite thing: This map provided by the Heidelberg Tourism Board is excellent, and even though I'm a "local" I still use it!
This particular link I am sharing with you describes the locations of all the major and minor sights, statues, historic buildings, etc. in the old town:
--> simply zoom into certain parts on the map by clicking on the magnifying glass with the "+" symbol, draw a square with your mouse and that section will be enlarged. Then "walk" down the Haupstrasse (main street) by using the arrows on the border of the map.
I usually start my walk at the Bismarkplatz (this is where I get off the tram) and walk down the street towards the Heilig Geist Kirche (Holy Ghost church), with the Neckar river to my left.
Fondest memory: This map is a fantastic way to explore Old Heidelberg before your trip. The map doesn't give detailed information about the nature of certain buildings, so I recommend this link for fantastic information: http://ww2.heidelberg.de/Altstadt-Information/english/index.htm
There is also a search feature on the left side of the map. Enter the address of e.g.: your Hotel, and the map will show you the sights closest to you.
CLICK HERE for your digital walk!
--> (if you click on this link, you will see instructions on how to use the Map: http://ww2.heidelberg.de/hd_map/html_hd/about_poi.html)
Tourist office in Heidelberg, Germany
Favorite thing: Even if you're like me and hate looking anything like a tourist, sometimes the most hardened traveller must momentarily admit defeat and ask for directions, help or advice.
Heidelberg is a tourist hot-spot so the city has ensured that visitors don't spend their days wandering around aimlessly, loosing time and money on their precious visit.
The Tourist Information Office is located exactly outside the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) and can give advice on guided tours, sights, hotels & more.
Opening hours (1st April - 31st October)
Monday - Saturday 09:00am - 07:00pm.
Sunday & Holidays 10:00am - 06:00pm.
(1st November - 31st March)
Monday - Saturday 09:00am - 06:00pm.
Closed Sundays & Holidays.
(check their website... changes are possible)
Fondest memory: The office can also give you advice on tram & bus lines to the various sights in Heidelberg. For extended travel outside the city please consult the DB (Deutsche Bahn) office within the train station.
TIP: This office also sells souvenirs... don't buy them here. It's (even more of) a rip off than at the tourist stands in at the Heilig Geist church.
The main tourist area in Heidelberg is the pedestrian precinct in the old town, near the Bismarksplatz, the Neckar river and of course the castle. All along the cobbled street you can find sign boards (see my photo) indicating where you are, and where everything else you want to visit can be found. So read them and use them - if all else fails ask one of the numerous young Heidelbergers for directions (most young people in Germany speak English).
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